Harmonium Choral Society | James Whitbourn: Annelies (A Choral Setting of the Diary of Anne Frank)

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James Whitbourn: Annelies (A Choral Setting of the Diary of Anne Frank)

by Harmonium Choral Society

Hear the love, loss, hope and joy in young Anne's thoughts and feelings from her "Diary of Anne Frank," in the youthful innocence of the soloist's voice and the voices of these singers. This music is devastatingly beautiful, emotional and intimate.
Genre: Classical: Vocal Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Introit: Prelude
Harmonium Choral Society, Anne Matlack & Laura Winslow
4:31 $0.99
clip
2. The Capture Foretold
Harmonium Choral Society, Laura Winslow & Anne Matlack
3:07 $0.99
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3. The Plan to Go Into Hiding
Harmonium Choral Society, Laura Winslow & Anne Matlack
4:24 $0.99
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4. The Last Night At Home and Arrival At the Annexe
Harmonium Choral Society, Laura Winslow & Anne Matlack
6:39 $0.99
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5. Life in Hiding
Harmonium Choral Society, Anne Matlack & Laura Winslow
11:26 $0.99
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6. Courage
Harmonium Choral Society, Laura Winslow & Anne Matlack
4:23 $0.99
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7. Fear of Capture and the Second Break-In
Harmonium Choral Society, Laura Winslow & Anne Matlack
3:47 $0.99
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8. Kyrie: Sinfonia
Harmonium Choral Society, Anne Matlack & Laura Winslow
3:52 $0.99
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9. The Dream
Harmonium Choral Society, Laura Winslow & Anne Matlack
3:19 $0.99
clip
10. Devastation of the Outside World
Harmonium Choral Society, Laura Winslow & Anne Matlack
4:05 $0.99
clip
11. Passing of Time
Harmonium Choral Society, Anne Matlack & Laura Winslow
2:55 $0.99
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12. The Hope of Liberation
Harmonium Choral Society, Anne Matlack & Laura Winslow
4:55 $0.99
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13. The Capture and the Concentration Camp
Harmonium Choral Society, Anne Matlack & Laura Winslow
6:43 $0.99
clip
14. Anne's Meditation
Harmonium Choral Society, Anne Matlack & Laura Winslow
4:04 $0.99
clip
15. Mark Miller: I Believe (feat. Grace Van Cleef)
Harmonium Choral Society & Anne Matlack
3:10 $0.99
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16. Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck: Pseaume 43, (feat. Harmonium Chamber Singers)
Harmonium Choral Society & Anne Matlack
2:37 $0.99
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17. Tarik O'Regan: Threshold of Night (feat. Harmonium Chamber Singers)
Harmonium Choral Society & Anne Matlack
5:50 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes

James Whitbourn’s review of this recording:

Dear Anne,

What I found was an expression of great musicality on the part of the Harmonium Choral Society and within your leadership. It felt to me as though all of you were not only committed, but so committed that the audience was compelled to be part of the story’s unfolding.

Although this was an audio recording, I felt I was able to visualize the choir’s faces and even their expressions. It felt as though they were rhythmic and beautifully-phrased not just because you had asked them to be or taught them to be (although I’m sure you had) but because they had got themselves to a point where they wanted to speak with one voice, and almost insisted upon doing so.

This must be what choral singing is about: creating a single voice that no individual possesses but which emerges from the creation of a unity of thought and purpose. This whole choral performance was governed by that unity, it seemed to me. And that made it remarkable for me.

Thank you. And thanks to each and every member of Harmonium.

All my best, James Whitbourn

From Notes by Dr. Anne Matlack on Annelies


I am so excited to share with you this important new work: Annelies, a setting of The Diary of Anne Frank, by British composer James Whitbourn for chorus and piano, violin, cello and clarinet. Annelies is beautiful, it is emotional, it is sometimes frightening and often very intimate. (Most of the text is in English but some Dutch and German is also incorporated.) The work straddles the achingly fine line between the horrors of the war and the hopeful and creative spirit of the young Anne. I have chosen a lovely young soprano as the Anne soloist who is in her 20s — Laura Winslow.

It seems to me that the farther we get from the Holocaust, the more it seems like academic history to our children, and we wanted to put this back in the context of family history. With my own 15-year-old daughter singing in Harmonium, it is impossibly hard to feel anything but close to Anne.


About James Whitbourn, composer ,and his composition Annelies:

James Whitbourn’s creation, Annelies is an extraordinary musical experience, on every level. With his music and his evocative storytelling, the singing, the playing, and his overall concept he created a unique and exciting musical adaptation of the beloved experience of this young girl

Some reviews of his work:

‘‘This  is extraordinary. It expands the experience of classical music beyond the edges of the traditional map of classical styles. The word ‘‘luminosity’’ describes the nature of celestial light, and the music of composer James Whitbourn is a celebration of that light - peaceful, radiant and clear.’’ (Tom Manoff on Luminosity for NPR's All things considered)

  James Whitbourn's music (composer of Anneliess) has been described as 'woundingly beautiful' (Daily Telegraph). 

He reflects sounds of the Westerkerk bells and tunes heard on the radio in the Annexe, along with representations of Anne Frank's Jewish and German heritage, details that add to a score "whose respectful understatement is its greatest strength" (The Times).

James Whitbourn’s devastatingly beautiful and restrained treatment of the subject makes it all the more poignant."

ABOUT HARMONIUM CHORAL SOCIETY

Harmonium Choral Society is one of New Jersey’s leading choral arts organizations. The 100-voice choral society, Directed by Dr. Anne J. Matlack has been widely recognized for its musical excellence and innovative programming. Harmonium has toured internationally to England and Wales, Eastern Europe, Northern Italy, Spain and Portugal, and most recently, Greece and Turkey and has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Eastern Division Convention of the American Choral Directors Association and at the opening convocation of the American Guild of Organists. we have commissioned and premiered works by Amanda Harberg, Matthew Harris, Elliot Z. Levine, Harmonium’s composers-in-residence Mark Miller and Marty Sedek, and others. Harmonium sponsors an annual High School Student Choral Composition Contest, celebrating its 18th year anniversary this season. This innovative program recently won the prestigious Chorus America Education and Outreach Award. Funding has been made possible in part by funds from Morris Arts through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

About Anne Matlack

Dr. Anne Matlack has been Artistic Director of Harmonium Choral Society since 1987. She has conducted choirs at Yale, Lafayette College, and Rutgers University, and concertizes as an organist and flutist. Dr. Matlack serves as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Community Choirs for the Eastern Division of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). She is active as an adjudicator and clinician, and has served on the board of the Yale Glee Club Associates. She has sung in the Robert Shaw Festival Chorus at Carnegie Hall, and with the Yale Alumni Chorus at the Kremlin in Moscow. (BA Music cum laude, Yale University; MM, DMA Choral Conducting, University of Cincinnati College - Conservatory of Music)

Harmonium Choral Society Chamber Orchestra members:

Ruth Zumstein, Violin. Marnie Kaller, Cello. Dorothy Duncan, Clarinet. John Pivarnik, Piano.

About Melanie Challenger, creator of the Libretto (words):

Melanie possesses many qualities that chime with Anne Frank’s character: a security both in her own judgment and in her own thought process, a keen intelligence and a penetrating understanding of other human beings.
The oratorio was Melanie’s idea, and it came to her after working on a music project with children from war-torn Bosnia. She approached me with the idea, and we worked on it intensely together for almost three years. (James Whitbourn, from Naxos liner notes. Used with permission.)

About our Annelies soloist, Laura Winslow


Laura Winslow feels honored by the opportunity to help bring this magnificent and moving work to life. She has performed as a soloist with the NJ Masterwork Chorus, Choral Art Society of NJ and Princeton Pro Musica. This is her fourth season with Harmonium, with which she toured in Greece and Turkey this past summer. Laura graduated with honors from Westminster Choir College, where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Education. A Massachusetts native, she has taught piano and voice in NJ for 8 years and has worked with singers of all ages in church, school, and community settings.

Notes on I Believe
, by Mark miller:

I believe in the sun, even when it's not shining.

I believe in love, even when I don't feel it.

I believe in God, even when God is silent.

These anonymous words of "I Believe" were scrawled on a cellar wall where Jews had hidden in Cologne, Germany during World War II. They have come to symbolize hope in the face of the despairing circumstances of the Holocaust.

Mark says: “I composed this as a testament to the power of love over institutionalized hate, whether it comes from government or religion. Several years ago I came upon this poem at a difficult time in my life when I was searching for words to embody the pain I was feeling and the hope I needed. There are rare moments when composing is more like an uncovering of something that was already there. This piece emerged within a few minutes and became a solace and an antidote for my world weariness. My hope is for this sacred gift of lyrics and song to be ‘medicine for the soul’ for all who hear it.”


Our soloist for "I Believe" is Grace Van Cleef, daughter of artistic director Anne Matlack.

Mark Miller believes that music can change the world. He also believes Cornell West’s quote that ‘Justice is what love looks like in public.’ His dream is that the music he composes, performs, teaches, and leads will inspire and empower people to create beloved community.

Mark has been composer-in-residence for Harmonium since 1998. He has written several works for Harmonium including the major cantata on Walt Whitman Song of the Open Road, and the moving Holocaust remembrance setting of Before Too Long, which Harmonium performed for the Eastern Division of American Choral Directors Association.

He serves as Professor of Church Music at Drew Theological School and is a Lecturer in the Practice of Sacred Music at Yale University. He also is the Minister of Music of Christ Church in Summit. Since 1999, Mark has led music for United Methodists and others around the country, including directing music for the 2008 General Conference. His choral anthems are best sellers for Abingdon Press and Choristers Guild and his hymns are widely published. Mark received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Yale University and his Master of Music in Organ Performance from Julliard.

Harmonium Chamber Singers:

16. Pseaume 43 Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621)


When searching for a way to integrate the Chamber Singers into this program, I was first drawn to Jan Sweelinck because of his Dutch nationality. He spent most of his life as the organist of the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, and his works straddled the Renaissance and Baroque eras. He was in great demand as a teacher, and a well-known improviser. His vocal works, although less cutting-edge than his keyboard works, show great rhythmic complexity and drive. This setting of Psalm 43 is in eight parts and highlights contrasting battle-like and prayerful sections to illustrate the text, which seemed appropriate for this concert.

Revenge moy, pren la querelle, Vindicate me, O God,

De moy, Seigneur, par ta merci, and defend my cause

Contre la gent fausse et cruelle; against an ungodly people;

De l’homme remplide cautelle, From deceitful and
Et en sa malice endurci, unjust men,

Delivre moy aussi. deliver me.

17. Threshold of Night Tarik O’Regan (b. 1978)


 The text of Threshold of Night also spoke to me in the context of Anne Frank, although it was conceived as an Advent text. Tarik O’Regan explains: Threshold of Night was commissioned for St. John’s College, Cambridge and was premiered in 200“6. The work aims to highlight the yearning that all societies have, in their time of need, for guidance from beyond their community.”

Tarik O’Regan is “one of the leading British composers of his generation” (Gramophone) who is writing “music of startling beauty” (The Observer),

He grew up in London, where he was born in 1978. Since 2007, he has divided his time between New York City and Cambridge, England. This semester he was teaching at Rutgers, and the Chamber Singers had the honor of working with him on a rehearsal of Threshold of Night. The work was written at Yaddo Artists’ Retreat in the midst of O’Regan’s work on a major commission, Ecstasies, for Simon Carrington at Yale. His recent projects include Suite from Heart of Darkness for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; a third solo album on the Harmonia Mundi label, Acallam na Senórach; and the premiere of his first opera Heart of Darkness at the Royal Opera House, London. Currently he is working on a full-length ballet, commissioned by the Dutch National Ballet; and large-scale new works for the Hallé Orchestra, Sydney Dance Company, and SOUK at the Royal Concertgebouw.

Who stands at my door in the storm and rain
 On the threshold of being? 
One who waits till you call him in
From the empty night.
Are you a stranger, out in the storm,
 Or has my enemy found me out
 On the edge of being?
I am no stranger who stands at the door
 Nor enemy come in the secret night, 

I am your child, in darkness and fear
 On the verge of being.
Go back, my child, to the rain and storm, 
For in this house there is sorrow and pain 
In the lonely night.
I will not go back for sorrow or pain, 
For my true love weeps within
 And waits for my coming.
Go back, my babe, to the vacant night
 For in this house dwell sin and hate
 On the verge of being.
I will not go back for hate or sin, 
I will not go back for sorrow or pain,
 For my true love mourns within 
On the threshold of night.

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Reviews


to write a review

Daniel Karger

A review of this recording by James Whitbourn, the composer of Annelies
James Whitbourn, Jan 26, 2015, Subject: Annelies performance
Dear Anne,
What I found was an expression of great musicality on the part of the Harmonium Choral Society and within your leadership. It felt to me as though all of you were not only committed, but so committed that the audience was compelled to be part of the story’s unfolding.
Although this was an audio recording, I felt I was able to visualize the choir’s faces and even their expressions. It felt as though they were rhythmic and beautifully-phrased not just because you had asked them to be or taught them to be (although I’m sure you had) but because they had got themselves to a point where they wanted to speak with one voice, and almost insisted upon doing so.
This must be what choral singing is about: creating a single voice that no individual possesses but which emerges from the creation of a unity of thought and purpose. This whole choral performance was governed by that unity, it seemed to me. And that made it remarkable for me.
Thank you. And thanks to each and every member of Harmonium.
 All my best,
James Whitbourn
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